Competition Cheer: How Far Have We Come?


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Jillian Nance, Writer

When you think of cheerleading, you probably think of some blonde girls in short skirts who yell and cheer during football games. This is shown in many movies and TV shows as the mold for cheerleaders. This, however, is a misconception. Cheerleading has many branches: high school, high school competitive, all-star, and college. They do a variety of different tumbling passes, stunts, dances, and cheers.

Some Bob Jones students were surveyed about their knowledge of cheer. 81% of students surveyed had never even been to a cheer competition. Of those who hadn’t, they were asked to describe what they believe that cheerleaders do. One student said, “I can only assume they do a more competitive version of their game day cheer routines.” Although this is the case for some teams, Bob Jones competes with an entirely different routine than just sideline cheering. 

Bob Jones competition cheer has come full circle. Once a small team with barely enough girls on the team to even compete turned into 30+ girls fighting for a spot on a National Championship team. They won multiple National titles in the late 2000s, but they weren’t so lucky in the years following that. This year, however, many girls on the team believe that things will change. 

Aaliyah Washington, a sophomore on the team, was asked to describe her experience as a Bob Jones cheerleader. “We have goals to meet… [and] we come into practice on days that we don’t have [formal] practice to get extra work.” These girls work very hard and always strive to be better than the previous years.

Another sophomore on the team, Katie Steele, said that the “the team works together to encourage each other and talk to each other.” Katie also said that “new coach, Ashley, has really helped the team progress.” This coach has helped them tremendously when striving for new skills, and always encourages them to do better. 

Coach Ashley, the Bob Jones competition cheer coach, was asked about her time coaching the team. She has only coached the Bob Jones girls for 2 years, so she is relatively new to the Bob Jones program. She said that at first she wanted to “find out…the dynamics of the team [as well as] our strengths and weaknesses.” She also mentioned how the team has been through a lot of hardships this year. “We have had so many injuries…so it’s hard to gauge the [increased] skill level.” She went on to say that although these incidents happen, “everybody is working together…and cheering for each other.” This strengthens the team as a whole. According to her, the team has come very far together, and she hopes to push forward even more in the upcoming years.